The United States has placed a Navy destroyer off the coast of Yemen to protect waterways from Houthi militia aligned with Iran, two US officials said on Friday, amid heightened tension between Washington and Tehran.
The USS Cole arrived in the vicinity of the Bab al-Mandab Strait off southwestern Yemen where it will carry out patrols including escorting vessels, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Last Monday, a Saudi frigate came under attack by three suicide boats belonging to the Houthi militias while on patrol west of the port of Hodeida, Yemen, the Saudi News Agency (SPA) reported.
The Saudi-led coalition said that the Saudi ship dealt with the boats as necessary. However, one of the boats collided with the rear of the vessel, resulting in the explosion of the boat and a fire at the rear of the ship. The crew extinguished the fire. Two members of the ship crew fell martyrs and three others were injured and they are in stable conditions.
The command added that the Saudi ship continued its patrol duties in the area of operations, while the air force and the coalition forces’ ships continued to chase the fleeing boats to deal with them.
The command of the coalition asserts that the continuation of the Houthi militias’ use of the port of Hodeida as a launching pad for terrorist operations is a serious development that would affect the international navigation and the flow of humanitarian and medical assistance into the port for Yemeni citizens. Last week the armed Houthi movement attacked a Saudi warship off the western coast of Yemen, causing an explosion that killed two crew members.